Date of Award
Daniels College of Business
Microaggressions, Moral awareness, Social dominance orientation, Social justice, Transformative learning, Workplace training
Microaggressions are commonplace slights perpetuated against out-group members that reinforce negative stereotypes, often inadvertently and unconsciously. Workplace mitigation efforts have traditionally been focused on raising awareness with the belief that perpetrators are simply unaware of their actions. While these efforts have done much to raise awareness—especially for victims of microaggressions, who may be more sensitive than ever of their occurrence—some perpetrators consciously persist through awareness, often with even more negative implications to the victim such as minimization, dismissal, and further stereotype reinforcement. For perpetrators to change their behavior, in addition to classic behavioral change models that require capability, opportunity, and motivation, such as the COM-B model, I posit that a process of transformative learning must take place. In this study, I aim to identify individual readiness factors that contribute to someone’s ability to do the critical reflection and social discourse necessary for learning to curb microaggression behavior. Through a series of surveys, I demonstrate certain factors contribute to a perpetrator learning readiness versus resistance in response to microaggression feedback. Specifically, microaggression learning readiness requires motivational factors such as training, moral awareness, social justice concern, individuation, cultural intelligence, and low social dominance orientation. With implications for workplace bias awareness training, this research joins learning theory with behavior change research and organizational change models to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the process of changing microaggression behavior in the workplace. It also provides quantitative support for practical workplace interventions and targeted skill development for microaggression perpetrators.
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Kathryn Elaine Kelly Watson
Received from ProQuest
Watson, Kathryn Elaine Kelly, "Sorry Not Sorry: Microaggression Perpetrator Learning Readiness Factors" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2224.
Available for download on Friday, August 01, 2025